Kevin and Harry

Then his lord called him in, and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt, because you begged me. Shouldn't you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, even as I had mercy on you?' His lord was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors, until he should pay all that was due to him. So my heavenly Father will also do to you, if you don't each forgive your brother from your hearts for his misdeeds." Matthew 18:32'35 WEB.

When Peter asked how many times he should forgive a person in one day, Jesus said seventy-seven times (or 70 x 7 = 490, depending on your translation). The Pharisees believed not more than three. Jesus then told them a parable about two men who were in debt to a King. We will call them Kevin and Harry.

Now, Kevin owed the King 10,000 talents. A talent was the highest unit of currency, and ten thousand the highest Greek numeral. This would be like a billion dollars. When Kevin couldn't pay it, the King ordered everything Kevin had to be sold to recover some of it. So Kevin fell to the ground before the King and begged him to show mercy. Kevin's pleading touched the King, and he had compassion on him. So he canceled all of Kevin's debt and set him and his family free from it.

Harry, the second man in the parable, owed Kevin one-hundred denarii. That is about twenty dollars. Now that is one-six-hundred-thousandth of the debt Kevin had owed the King. Yet, rather than forgive his debt, Kevin wanted to make Harry pay. So he had Harry put in prison until he could pay back every penny of the twenty dollars.

When word of this got back to the King, he became so upset that he had Kevin arrested and thrown in prison. The King handed Kevin over to the torturers until he could pay back the billion dollars he had owed him.

So both men wound up in prison because only the one who held the debt could release them from it. The King couldn't legally release Harry, who owed the twenty dollars, for it was a legitimate debt Harry owed. Kevin was the only one who could free Harry from it. Yet, if Kevin would have released Harry, then the King would have released Kevin. That's how forgiveness works.

Jesus said: "Forgive, and you will be forgiven." (Luke 6:37). "And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us" (Luke 11:4). In each of these, our action causes a reaction. This is why Jesus commanded to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" because how you treat others is how you'll be treated in the future.

We are required to forgive others in order to be forgiven. It isn't really a choice. Jesus made it clear that unless we forgive others, we won't be forgiven ourselves. Un-forgiveness is a dangerous game to play. The original text conveys that they were handed over to the "Tormentors. " This was a torturer who would make them pay back the debt in some way. This wasn't a made-up phrase Jesus happened to use but a stern warning to us.

Many of us are in jail and don't even know it. Many are tormented. We wonder why our life is a living hell, yet we cling to our bitterness like it's all we have to live for. Let the ones who hurt you go and free yourself from your personal jail. Your life will be so much happier, and your mind will be free when you no longer have to track all the wrongs done to you.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I know I need Your mercy more than ever. Because of You, I forgive those who have done me wrong. I freely release them and let them go. Please set me free from the torturer today. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen!

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